The Seven Samurai is one of my favorite all time movies, so I just had to pick up the American remake called The Maginificent Seven. I've watched this a few times since, but this review was written on October 28, 2002. Sorry about the messed up IMDB links, but it was written before IMDB changed their URL scheme. I should watch this again.
The Magnificent Seven is an icon of a movie, perhaps the best known Western of its time. With a soon to be famous cast, an archetypical story lifted from the Kurosawa's incomparable Seven Samurai, and accompanied by one of the most famous movie scores of all time, The Magnificent Seven is a movie to be watched and enjoyed again and again. And the DVD is spectacular to boot!
A small town in Mexico is being terrorized by bandits, so the villagers send a party north of the border to buy some guns. But they soon realize they know nothing about fighting, as they watched Chris Adams (play by a wonderfully stoic Yul Brynner) drive a hearse through town against much opposition, backed by Vin, played with panache and flair by Steve McQueen. So the villagers ask Chris to hire a crew to come help protect them, with Vin being the first to sign up. This is quickly followed by the inclusion of Bernarndo (Charles Bronson), Lee (Robert Vaughn), Harry (Brad Dexter), Britt (James Coburn), and the anxious to please kid, Chico (Horst Buchholz). They are all down on their luck in some fashion or another, and gladly accept the minimal wages offered to protect the village against the depradations of the vicous local bandito, Calvera (played by a Jew from New York, Eli Wallach!).
They slowly whip the villagers in shape, while sparks fly between themselves and the villagers, as well as personalities clashing between the gunfighters. Several vintage scenes follow, including two major dustups with the bandito gang. Quotable lines flow freely, as do memorable camera shots and, of course, Elmer Bernstein's score, with its "dum dum de dum" base beat - all you need is a couple notes, just like Williams' Jaws theme, and you go "Oh yeah, that one!"
It's just one of the funnest movies I've watched in a long time. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and according to the pretty solid "Making of..." movie that comes with the DVD, they were! Competition and testosterone was the name of the game - if Brynner had a big horse, McQueen wanted a bigger one! Great lines (see the IMDB entry for a long list of them) and a solid story make this a "Must Have" DVD. And I'm looking forward to hearing the commentary track by Wallach, Colburn and others.